Freight Farms announced today it has raised a $15 million series B round led by Ospraie Ag Science, according to a press release emailed to The Spoon. The round also saw participation from existing investor Spark Capital and brings Boston-based Freight Farms’ total funding thus far to $28 million.
When we checked in with Freight Farms last year, cofounder Brad McNamara said the company was “rearchitecting the whole concept of vertical farming.” Freight Farms was at the time making its farms, which are housed in shipping containers, more modular to accommodate a variety of crops as well as more efficient when it came to how much energy the LEDs on the farm use. Freight Farms launched its 320-sq-foot Greenery farm in 2019 that included these improvements as well as farmhand, the company’s IoT platform built in-house and used to monitor and manage the lifecycle of crops.
Since then, Freight Farms has expanded its reach to 44 U.S. states and 25 countries, and now serves a range of businesses and institutions, from small-business farmers to grocery retailers like Meijer and QSRs like Wendy’s.
Earlier this year, the company announced a partnership with foodservice and facilities management company Sodexo to bring vertical farms to K-12 schools and college campuses around the U.S.
Freight Farms will use the new funds to further develop and advance the technology behind its farms. As mentioned above, this technology is built in-house and meant to be interoperable, which is a departure from a lot of other vertical farms, which often gather off-the-shelf components from various third-party manufacturers and string them together to create a system. While that method works, McNamara told me last year that it also comes with the risk of interoperability issues (the various pieces can’t “talk” to one another as easily) and can sometimes cost more to run. He also noted it’s easier to automate the entire farm when all tech is in house.
And since vertical farming as a whole has yet to prove itself as economically scalable on a large scale, we’re going to hear a lot more about automation in the coming months as Freight Farms and others develop new tools to try and bring the cost of farming down.